Brazil hopes COP30 climate summit boosts ecotourism

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BRASILIA: Brazilian tourism officials are hoping to change the country’s image as a mere haven for scantily-clad beachgoers by hosting UN climate talks next year in the Amazon rainforest city of Belem that will focus on environmental sustainability and ending deforestation to slow global warming.
The summit is expected to boost Brazil‘s attractiveness as an ecotourism destination and increase travel to its Amazon rainforest and other biomes that offer the world’s greatest biodiversity, Tourism Minister Celso Sabino said.
Only 9% of current visitors to Brazil are ecotourists, while almost two out of every three tourists come for sun and beach, he said in an interview late on Tuesday.
“Tourism is essential for the sustainability and preservation of forests, bringing needed economic development for the local inhabitants,” he said.
Drawing more environmental and adventure travelers is part of the government’s plan to increase overall tourism in Brazil, which is low in comparison with other countries. Tourism contributes less than 8% of Brazil’s GDP, compared to more than 20% in Spain, Portugal or the Dominican Republic, he said.
Sabino is working on expanding flights to Brazil and will be at the Seatrade Cruise Global fair in Miami next week to discuss increasing the number of cruise ship visits to Brazilian ports.
All steps to raise foreign and domestic tourism are welcomed by private businesses complaining that the number of tourists remains stagnant and below the pre-pandemic level.
“Brazil has a natural vocation for ecotourism given its unique biodiversity. There is an enormous potential to be tapped,” said Marina Figueiredo, executive president of Braztoa, the Brazilian tour operators association.
Tourists worldwide are looking for new experiences with nature and wildlife, Figueiredo told Reuters.
“COP30 next year will be more than just a conference. It is a very strategic event that will showcase Brazil as a country that protects the environment and preserves nature,” she said.



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